The final round of the World Rally Championship is fast approaching and again will be held in the NSW coastal town of Coffs Harbour on 15th – 18th November.
Excitement is building as both the WRC (World Rally Championship) and the ARC (Australian Rally Championship) are likely to come down to the last event of the year to decide the champions.The three competitors’ in the WRC hunt are Hyundai’s – Thierry Neuville, Toyota’s – Ott Tanak and the current 5-time World Champion Sebastien Ogier – M Sport, all three are in reach of being crowned the 2018 world’s best Rally driver.
Thierry Neuville – Hyundai.
MSport – Sebastien Ogier.
Ott Tanak – last year driving for MSport before switching to Toyota.
In the Australian ARC Championship 4 drivers are still in with a chance after the completion of the recent and penultimate round in the Adelaide Hills where championship leader Eli Evans had misfortune and penalties applied that invited other competitor’s back into the championship race.
Eli Evans in action in last year’s Rally Australia event.
Toyota Driver Harry Bates, after a dominant performance in Adelaide is now back in the hunt for the ARC title. Two other drivers Molly Taylor and Steve Glenney have realistic chances and are close enough to claim the title if things were to go their way.
Harry Bates in action in last year’s Rally Australia event.
This year’s WRC Kennard’s Hire – Rally Australia has undergone a number of changes including a revamp to the course with a few new stages and other stages to be run in the reverse direction. A couple of other noticeable changes will be the podium finish will be in the Wedding Bells forest on Sunday and the ceremonial start will move from the CBD down to the foreshore.
Speculation continues as to the future of the WRC event being held in Coffs Harbour with alternatives, New Zealand and Japan, mentioned as possibilities with the return of Toyota to the manufacturers championship. Western Australia and Canberra have also been offered as alternatives to Coffs for Australia to retain a round of this prestigious sporting event. It appears the promoters and team managers have concerns re the low number of people through the Service park and spectators on the stages, when compared to the European numbers.
Hyundai – New Zealand Driver, Hayden Paddon.
Current Australian Rally Champion – Nathan Quin.
Citreon – Craig Breen.
Words and Pictures by Terry Hill